After posting about Site Analysis with Detail Components, someone asked if the following graphic/ trees were made in Revit.
The short answer is probably not (though I honestly do not know, since I did not make this lovely graphic). But the question made me wonder, could you make a scaleable tree symbol like that in Revit in reasonable amount of time? Turns out, yes, you can.
So the concept behind a complex, scaleable planting symbol combines topics that I’ve covered in two previous posts: Plant Graphics – Symbols and Color and Scaleable Landscape Families.
Essentially it involves creating a scaleable, spline-based detail component, based around a reference plane framework, and then nesting that into a planting family. The framework and constraints are time-consuming, but I was able to make this family in the better part of a morning (less than 3 hours).
UPDATE: There is a much quicker workflow for creating a complex scaleable graphic, please see my updated post, Complex Planting Graphics, Simplified. This updated process can be done in 20 minutes or less.
You could easily make one less complex than this in much less time.
Part 1: the Framework
To start off, insert a picture of a tree graphic (having something to trace like this is a big time saver). Then, draw a reference circle with a nice diameter to match the image.
Now, for the next part you need to identify all of the sub-areas within the symbol. If you look at the final product (below), you can see that I simplified the symbol somewhat. In general, the less sub-areas the easier it will be to make.
I settled on 7 sub-areas, including the largest light green area.
Once you have those areas finalized, you then need to mark (with reference planes) where all of the spline end points will be. This is basically breaking up shared boundaries, so they can be constrained and copy-pasted from one filled region to another. Note all of the highlighted planes (in blue). [There is actually 1 unnecessary plane, if you can spot it.]
Starting with the outside boundary, these are the points along the circumference where the sub-areas change. In the interior, it is a little more complicated, but there are less of them.
THEN, you have to constrain them all relative to the diameter (I would recommend making your dimensions transparent).
Yes, it is a long list, but it really doesn’t take very long to do. Use your calculator and copy clipboard to your advantage, so you can just hit Ctrl + V when typing in the Formula.
Part 2: the Filled Regions
I started off drawing the outside boundary, but you can really start anywhere. The spline must be continuous between reference plane intersections. I also decided to have no overlap between regions. This mainly requires some copy and pasting of boundaries between filled regions, but is otherwise not much more difficult.
As usual, you cannot have both transparency and shadows.
In this tree on the right, only the lightest green is Opaque and the Transparent regions disappear behind the Topo, as you can see when it’s on the edge of the Topo.
Finally, you want to make sure that you are constraining the endpoints of the splines to the reference plane intersections. This is where the Align tool (AL) is highly useful.
If you’re unfamiliar with Align, you want to select the reference plan first, then the endpoint of the spline, and then lock the constraint icon. Do this for both the vertical and horizontal planes.
Part 3: the Linework
Once the areas are all drawn and constrained to scale, all that is left is the linework. There are two options for linework: leave it in the detail component or do it in the Planting family. The first option is the quickest, since you can just use the filled region boundaries for the linework, but it results in the lines being controlled from the Detail Items Category and/or a detail item Subcat, such as Light Lines.
In the above Planting family, the inner symbol lines are on Light Lines within the Detail Component, and will disappear when the Light Lines Subcat is turned off. However, it is worth noting that when the entire Detail Category is turned off, the Light Lines will still remain visible if it is checked. And the entire Family is still controlled from the Planting Category, so if Planting is turned off, the entire family (linework and all) disappears.
I prefer to use the second option of putting the linework in the Planting family. It takes a little more time (at least for the main outline), but it results in a cleaner family, that is entirely controlled from the Planting Category.
The outline can be traced using Pick Lines (and Tab to select) and then constrained to the nested reference planes (now called Shape handles).
And that’s it! If you want to check it out, here it is, but be aware that the color fills will only be visible when the view Detail Level is set to Fine.
UPDATE: There is a much quicker workflow for creating a complex scaleable graphic, please see my updated post, Complex Planting Graphics, Simplified.